Eye injuries, particularly eye trauma, happen all the time, and to nearly everyone at least once in their life. However, trauma caused by foreign objects hitting or entering the eye is simply one of the most preventable eye injuries imaginable. When foreign objects hit the eyeball they can cause blunt eye trauma, penetrating and orbital “foreign body” injury, corneal lacerations or abrasions, radiation injury, and chemical burns. Everyone has experienced at least some degree of discomfort from a foreign body injury: a fleck of dust or debris hits your eye while driving with the sunroof open in the car, a tiny piece of metal scratches your eyeball while assembling a baby crib, etc. You never expect it, and yet the threat to your eyes remains ever present in your daily life.

    Eye injury is a leading cause of monocular blindness (blindness in one eye), and is second to cataract as the most common cause of visual impairment in the world. Most eye injuries occur in persons under thirty years of age – in fact, the average is 29.

    Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. Over 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. Twenty percent of eye injuries are work-related, with 95% occurring among males working in construction. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10% to 20% cause temporary or permanent vision loss. Reports show almost 40,000 eye injuries relate to sports and toys annually, but the number may be as high as 100,000. While many athletes and sportspeople protect themselves with helmets and pads, few protect their eyes. Clearly, the correct eye protection could lessen the severity of, or prevent, 90% of accidental eye injuries.

    Eye injury causes most often include chemicals in the home, workshop and tool parts, battery acid, sports accidents, fireworks, over-exposure to ultra violet (UV) radiation, and the use of toys/games without supervision.

    The most common causes of eye Injuries are:

    • Flying objects
    • Tools
    • Particles
    • Sporting equipment
    • Chemicals
    • Harmful radiation
    • Any combination of these or other hazards

    Prevention remains your best defense. You should wear safety eye wear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working or playing in, or passing through, areas that may pose eye hazards should wear protective eye wear. Start simply then work your way up as the environment dictates. For example, insist loved ones keep fingernails short. Wash your hands after handling any chemical. Always keep goggles and sunglasses handy at home or in the car; then wear them during any sport.

    There are three major things you can do to help prevent an eye injury:

    1. Know the eye safety dangers at work or during recreational activities, and complete an eye hazard assessment.
    2. Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens, or other engineering controls.
    3. Use proper eye protection at all times.

    The type of safety eye protection you wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. If you are working in an area with airborne particles, flying objects, or dust, you must wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields). If working with chemicals, you should wear goggles. When working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers, or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed for that task.

    Today, three types of safety lenses meet or exceed the requirements for protecting your eyes – glass, plastic, and polycarbonate safety lenses.

    Glass Lenses:

    • Are not easily scratched
    • Can be used around harsh chemicals
    • Can be made in your corrective prescription
    • Are sometimes heavy and uncomfortable

    Plastic Lenses:

    • Are lighter weight
    • Protect against welding splatter
    • Are not likely to fog
    • Are not as scratch-resistant as glass
    • Can be made in your corrective prescription

    Polycarbonate Lenses:

    • Are lightweight
    • Protect against welding splatter
    • Are not likely to fog
    • Are stronger than glass and plastic
    • Are more impact resistant than glass or plastic
    • Are not as scratch resistant as glass

    At the turn of the 20th century, swordsmanship students and teachers did not wear protective headgear; it was not considered “manly.” Never let fashion dictate the absence of eye care. The statistics bear out the fact that everyone can become smarter concerning eye protection and wellness. Let’s all make eye safety rule number one. That’s a fashion statement we can live with, and see with!

    Posted September 2, 2016 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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